By Martin Roth
Reports that India had 131 instances of attacks on Christians last year caused me to wonder if there might not be an element of under-reporting here. Yes, India is a democracy with, apparently, a growing number of Christians. Yet the Open Doors World Watch List ranks it 31st – moderate persecution, between Tunisia and Myanmar – in its listing of the countries where Christians face most hardships in practising their faith.
Christians in India face opposition from militant Hindu adherents of the Hindutva movement, from Communists and from Islamists.
So I was not surprised by this week’s Morning Star News headline: “Under-Reporting Obscures Martyrdom of Christians in India.” According to the report:
Four Christians in India died for their faith last year, but incomplete information obscured the anti-Christian hostility in three of the deaths, sources said. In Tamil Nadu and West Bengal states where the killings took place, area Christians assert that the murders were rooted in opposition to Christianity; specifically, radical Hindus viewing Christianity as a threat to Hinduism and Indian nationalism as a unified identify. In three of the four deaths, however, under-reporting obscured the acts or motives of the attackers.
We are only one month into the new year, and already we have instances of the continuing persecution of Indian Christians.
* In Andhra Pradesh, Hindutva militants attacked a group of Christians at a birthday party and arranged for the arrest of a pastor.
* Also in Andhra Pradesh, Hindutva militants attacked worshippers at a church service.
* Hindutva militants in Chhattisgarh have destroyed a Christian cemetary wall.
* Government authorities have demolished a church in Hyderabad.
* In the village of Tamsai, near New Delhi, Christians have several times been attacked by Hindu militants.
Open Doors has this sad conclusion on India: “It is very likely that persecution will increase in 2013 and in the run-up to the 2014 elections.”